Hi, I'm Dave Osborne. With over 50 years experience as a journeyman carpenter, foreman and contractor in heavy construction I enjoyed working with apprentices and sharing the tricks of the trade that others shared with me. Now I get emails from Members all over the world and we include many of my answers in our Free Monthly Newsletters. Some of my answers include drawings and instructions specific to a project, but may also answer your questions. I use correct construction terminology, so you can confidently inform your building supply dealers or contractors exactly what you need.
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These wood working plans include:
The following drawings:
The List of Materials include materials for the plywood frame, the solid wood material to cover the frame, the materials required for the headboard, frame and upholstery and the fastenings required for the project.
The Instructions include the following topics:
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I've designed this bed in two pieces, otherwise you won't get it through the door. That said, the narrowest width of the bed frame with finish is 80" with a 1/2" space between the mattress and the plywood for tucking in the sheets, etc. The standard opening for a door is 81", that is 80" door and 1" airspace on the bottom less 1/2" for the stop on the header. This leaves 80 1/2" tight. Make sure to measure your door opening to be sure the bed will get into the bedroom. Obviously, accurate measurements are required for this kind of clearance.
Let's start with the frame. Rip 4 pieces of plywood 12" x 8' long. Cut 2 pieces 82 1/2" and 2 pieces 77 ". Cut the feet on the four corners, except the back against the headboard. We want the cut outs about 1/2" larger than the finished cherry, to hide it. The plywood cutouts should start in 2" from the corner and 3 1/2" high. Allow for the overlap when laying out the cut. Refer to the Detail drawing. Fasten the pieces together using 3 - #8 x 2" screws in each corner, with the 2 longer pieces overlapping the shorter and the good side in, the bad side out, to be covered later. Apply screws and glue to all the joints and connections. Lap joints are good here. The inside of the frame should measure 77 x 81.
From the top of the inside of the frame, measure down 2 3/4", snap a line and faster the top of the 2x2 to this line. This is the support for the plywood sheets to support the mattress. At the center of the longer side, fasten the 2x4, after notching it out to fit around the 2x2. This 2x4 beam will support the center of the 2 plywood sheets under the mattress. Refer to the drawing below.
Notice the screws in the detail and the use of the 2x4 beam to support the center of the 2 pieces of plywood, coming together, to support the mattress in the middle of the bed. Place the screws around the perimeter into the 2x2 and 2x4 about every 12". Remember the glue.
The headboard will also have a frame of 3/4" plywood. Cut a 4x8 sheet of plywood to a length of 86". Refer to the End View and Side View drawings for dimensions. The headboard is kept separate from the bed, it is only fastened to the bed liner from the back of the headboard. No glue is used between the headboard and the bed liner, so removal is possible. Before any cherry is fastened to either pieces, fasten the headboard and the bed frame together by temporarily screwing into the bed frame through the plywood of the headboard. Center the headboard on the bed frame. You should have about 3 3/4" on each side sticking out and flush on the bottom. Use 1/4" x 2" carriage bolts with washers and nuts. Drill 5 - 1/4" holes through the headboard and the bed frame, as shown in the drawing.
Space the bolts out as shown: 1" from the bottom and 5 3/4 between. Center the single bolt up 4" from the bottom. With carriage bolts, don't use washers on the head of the bolts. Tighten the nut against the washer on the back side of the headboard, pulling the square shank into the hole and snug it up.
Now it is time to assemble the cherry onto the headboard. Start with ripping your solid cherry down to 3/4 thick, allowing for planing. The widest board is 5 1/4" wide for the top. Fasten the 5" sides in place first, then the top. Screw in from the back, through the plywood, with 1 1/4" screws and glue. Fasten the 5" strip below the upholstered panels and the 4" center section, between them. Make sure the area for the upholstered panels are left no smaller than 18"x36", so they will fit. Use glue against the edges of the cherry at the joints. Wipe up any glue spill on the cherry with a damp cloth, before it dries. Assemble the top piece to cover the plywood end grain, as shown on the Side View drawing. Also, fasten a strip down each edge of the headboard to cover the end grain. Leave a reveal of 1/4", or so, past the face of the cherry on the front of the headboard. A reveal of 1/4" or so on the back of the headboard will also be a good idea, to hide the plywood when the headboard is against the wall.
Cut two pieces of 3/4" plywood about 1/16" less, on all four sides, than 18"x36". Slightly round over the corners, but leave the edges square, just sand smooth. Layout the pattern of buttons, similar to the drawing or your own design. Drill 3/16" holes for each button. Any upholstery shop will have these buttons for you and will cover them with your own scrap of fabric. Cut 2 pieces of foam 19"x37". Apply contact cement to the surface of the plywood and to the surface of the foam. Let each dry to the point of being tacky. Lay the foam down on a hard surface with the sticky side up and carefully install the board onto the foam, allowing an overlap of 1/2" all around. Place the fabric finished side down on a table, centre the foam and board on top of it. Fold the fabric over the edge of the board, pulling taut. Staple or tack the fabric on one of the long sides of the board, then do the opposite side, finishing with the ends. Fold the fabric over the corners by neatly pleating it in place. Try to keep the corners the same shape and tightness. Working from the backside of the plywood, insert an awl, long nail, or ice pick, piercing straight through the foam and fabric. Push the brad button back through the hole splaying the ends out on the back side of the plywood, giving uniform tension to the fabric on the front side.
Notice the 1/4" shims or packing to hold the upholstered panel out a bit from the plywood of the headboard which gives clearance for the fabric, staples and brads. The shims can be made of any 1/4" plywood or scrap about 1 1/2" wide. Fasten them around the perimeter of the back side of the upholstered panel, as close as the fabric allows. Put aside the 2 upholstered panels until the solid wood is applied to the headboard and finishing stain or clear finish is applied.
While the headboard and bed frame are still together, let's apply the solid cherry wood, or other choice of veneer, to the bed frame. The frame is covered by 2 lengths of 4" width material and 1 of 4 1/4". The center piece is ripped down to 1/4" thick and the others to 3/4" thick. Notice from the Detail that the top piece is notched over the plywood by 1/4". I'll leave the shape of the molding to you. When fitting the moldings on the sides, come into the headboard with a butt joint and on the opposite ends with miter joints.
The headboard can be unfastened from the bed frame and a stain and/or clear finish of urethane can be applied. After drying, both pieces can be moved to the bedroom and re-assembled in place.
Fasten the 3/4" upholstered panel in place from the back of the headboard with the 1 1/2" screws, no glue.
Enjoy your bed.
Dave(Ask Dave) (About Dave)